Why do we refer to our minds in terms of seas and cartography, anyway? Find out by consulting your sextant and the first online metaphor map. The chart boasts over 14,000 metaphorical connections, sourced from 4,000,000 lexical data points by a few Scottish researchers who now (presumably) have some excellent new phrases for spinning yarns and embroidering thoughts at dinner parties....more
Posts Tagged: The Guardian
Recently, several novelists have criticized the primary curriculum in the UK for teaching a brand of creative writing that is too “complex.” For the Guardian, Ella Slater explains why she agrees with such criticism, arguing that her primary education has made writing simple and direct prose difficult:
As someone now struggling with keeping my prose simple and fluent, I can only say that I regret that the primary curriculum left so much to the secondary.
What I do know is that love reckons with the past and evil reminds us to look to the future. Evil loves tomorrow because peddling in possibility is what abusers do. At my worst, I know that I’ve wanted the people that I’ve hurt to look forward, imagining all that I can be and forgetting the contours of who I have been to them.
The true identity of Italian novelist Elena Ferrante invites much speculation, especially in light of her recent nomination for Italy’s most prestigious literary award. But for Ferrante, the decision to write in the shadows may be a liberating one. The Guardian explores why Ferrante may have decided to remain anonymous....more
At the Guardian, Sarah Hughes profiles young adult author Louise O’Neill, whose novels Only Ever Yours and Asking For It have received acclaim for embracing “dark themes” surrounding body image, sex, and social media:
When I wrote Only Ever Yours it was at a time when I was so sick and tired of feeling shame around my body and so weary of fighting the fact that women are seen as less in so many ways.
There are a number of picture books with strong girl protagonists, however the majority of them are drawn in skirts and dresses. At the Guardian, Julia Eccleshare calls for more children’s books with “girls in trousers,” in order to campaign against this “sexual stereotyping.”...more
Men need not submit to small press And Other Stories this year, as the independent publisher plans on only printing women in 2018, reports the Guardian. And Other Stories prints 10 to 12 books a year. The decision was made in response to the revelation that less than 40% of Booker Prize submissions are written by women, and many fewer are about women, and a challenge issued by novelist Kamila Shamsie to make 2018 the year of publishing women....more
From small presses to literary journals, crowdfunding has grown into a major source of money for publishing. Authors are even turning to services like Kickstarter to fund their booktours, like Sarah Gerard, author of Binary Star. Her successful campaign raised more than $9,000 for her book tour....more
Philip Larkin disliked literary parties. He also disliked giving lectures. His general dislike of public and social events led the British poet to push back against attempts to nominate him for a prestigious Oxford professorship. He also turned down the poet laureateship in 1984....more
A recent study by author Nicola Griffith reveals that books written about men were more likely to win major literary prizes over the last fifteen years than books written about women. During this timeframe, 12 Man Booker Prize winners and 10 National Book Award winners were primarily about men or boys....more
Before there was Google, there was the New York Public Library. Library patrons could query librarians by writing out questions on notecards. The NYPL found a set of vintage cards, and has been publishing them on Instagram. The Guardian shares some of the best questions, like this one from 1947:
What does it mean when you dream you’re being chased by an elephant?
In the wake of the destruction of precious cultural artifacts during the unrest in Iran and Syria, a quiet memoir from the queen of mystery, Agatha Christie, remembers the landscape and archeological legacy. The autobiographical Come, Tell Me How You Live never technically went out of print, but HarperCollins will re-release the book in time for Ms....more
In the finished novel, this journey will take up four sentences. My virtual mapping of the route will have almost no discernible impact on the prose that I’ve already sketched out – as adjectives go, “nondescript” doesn’t paint much of a picture – and, once again, what I justify as research might just as easily be dismissed as the writer’s tendency to arse around.
Serial novels are nothing new, especially in genre fiction designed to keep readers shelling out money for the next phase of a story. But the sudden, rapid success of fantasy genre series like George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones and the adaptation of Tolkien’s hobbit epics to the big screen has meant publishers want to cash in on the double-XL titles....more
Newspaper journalist Samuel Clemens would eventually go on to become novelist Mark Twain. But, Samuel Clemens was something of a story writer too. At the Guardian, Nicky Woolf reports that a scholar at the University of California has discovered and authenticated letters stories written by Twain while he still worked at the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle....more
Margery Kempe, a 15th century mother-of-14 visited by religious visions whose autobiography is considered among the first in the English language, has just gained significant cred. For the first time, historians have been able to verify significant parts of her account, by way of a newly discovered letter apparently written by her son....more
For the Guardian, Nicole Lee reports on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s closing lecture at the PEN World Voices festival, where the Nigerian author expressed concern for the “dangerous silencing” of an American culture that “fears causing offense.” In addition, Adichie encouraged a culture of “listening,” and spoke of the boundaries between writing fiction and contributing to public conversations surrounding contemporary social issues....more
At the Guardian, novelist Julian Barnes shares his experiences developing a taste for art during his childhood, and how modernism worked to change his early impressions of what art could be. In addition, he offers insight as to how modernist art has come to influence his work, as well as the works of Flaubert and Proust....more
The book was, we can now see, crying out for the invention of the web, which would enable the holding of multiple domains of knowledge in the mind at one time that a proper reading requires.
At the Guardian, Billy Mills looks at the love match that is the Internet and Finnegans Wake and has good tidings: hypertext may make the formerly unreadable novel readable....more
Much like the parochial vocabulary it strives to catalogue, the Dictionary of American Regional English is in danger of extinction. A stopgap crowdfunding campaign is currently open to support the project in the short term, but the long-term forecast for the entity protecting such gems as “flumadiddle” (nonsense), “slippery jims” (pickles), and “rantum scooting” (going out with no definite destination) is grim....more
For the Guardian, Megan Quibell argues that climate change has changed dystopian fiction, as many recent dystopian works rely on a “catalyst” that stems from “the destruction of the environment.” The result is a series of books that “hammers home” the reality of climate change, which is “not something for the distant future.”...more
You might say that our blog offers curated literary articles. That might sound pretentious, but not nearly as pretentious as a curated salad, a curated college application, or a curated wine list. The Guardian takes a look at the use, overuse, and history of curation:
The idea of the contemporary curator originates with the conceptual art movement of the 1960s.
Colm Toíbín, author of On Elizabeth Bishop, has a lovely long reflection at the Guardian about Bishop’s friendship with Thom Gunn, and the parallels in the artists’ life and work. Bishop and Gunn both shied away from writing about mentally ill mothers and queer relationships for most of their lives, although Gunn addressed both in the 1990s....more
British novelist David Nicholls believes that book buyers who browse their local shops and then buy books online are basically shoplifters, he tells the Guardian. The author of Us and other novels, Nicholls is a former bookseller himself. He delivered the keynote speech at the London Book Fair’s Digital Minds conference where he lamented that, “a town without a bookshop is missing something.”...more